Are you about to head off to a conference? Timetable sorted, travel and accommodation booked, clothes packed? Great you’re all set, good to go. But before you do here’s something you might have forgotten to think about. Have you given any thought to how you want to be during the conference? How will you show up, present yourself to your colleagues and your community? I’m guessing you have given this some thought perhaps in a tangental way in the choices you have made about the clothes you have pack. But this is a little more focused and it’s an important question to think about. Alongside all the ‘doing’ – how do I want to be?

Conferences are a fantastic way of developing networks, making connections and extending our thinking. Of breathing life back into us. Energising and connecting us with the heart language of our profession.  Before you throw yourself into the whirl of workshops, poster sessions and socialising what kind of preparation do you do each day? Check the timetable, make plans for meeting up with people……..

Here is an alternative suggestion. At the start of each new conference day alongside asking yourself what do I want to do today ask yourself How do I want to BE today?

The answer to this question with frame your day and your experience. Do you want to be energised; courageous; curious; reflective; challenging; sociable; full of life; creative?

Maybe being brave or courageous for you means having the confidence to ask the question you really want to ask but feel nervous about. Maybe it’s about standing up and giving your first ever presentation and injecting energy and sparkle into what you are saying. Perhaps being sociable means putting down your mobile and talking to the people sitting next to you.

A short exercise to support you.

Before you head out for the day spend a few minutes thinking about the question. How do I want to be today? It may not be the same every day. 

Once you have done that. Sit quietly for a few minutes with your eyes closed and take yourself to a time in your life when you really felt that way.

Relive it. Really connect with how it felt. Where were you, what were you doing, how did it feel? Were you on your own or were others with you? In being this way what were you saying yes to? Sit in that feeling for a few minutes before you bring yourself back into the present moment.

And then take that feeling with you to conference and live it.

Check in with yourself during the day to see if you are honouring it.

If you are reading this post you might also like to check out our, Friendly Guide to Attending Your First Conference, written by people attending their first health professionals conference informed by their experience. It’s full of practical tips to help you get the most out of a conference before, during and after.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash